The hardest Super Bowl to write about as a Denver Broncos fans would be the 55-10 blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The defeat hammered home the frustrating and disappointing performances of the four Super Bowls the team had reached up to that point and it felt like the franchise would never find a way over that Super Bowl curse.
It didn’t help that the 1989 49ers will forever be remembered as one of the greatest teams ever assembled. They obliterated their playoff competition by a combined score of 71-16, which increased to 126-26 in just three games. The Broncos had a fine 11-5 season with playoff wins over the Pittsburgh Steelers and a dominating victory over the Cleveland Browns, but they would prove no match for the 14-2 49ers.
The score was 7-3 early. No, really... that’s all we’ve got. Super Bowl XXIV was a game where every expert was proven right.
“The 49ers did what every expert said they would do: dominate us,” Dan Reeves said after the game. “They’re playing at a level right now not many people have ever matched. They’re playing as well as anybody has ever played. They’re incredible.”
John Elway was harassed and pressured all game long. He completed just 10 of 26 passes for 108 yards and two interceptions. Denver finished with just 167 total yards and gave up six sacks. Meanwhile, the 49ers put up 461 total yards and controlled the ball for 40 minutes.
As a fan of just 12 years old living in Northern California, I stopped watching in the second quarter to avoid the trash talk from the adult 49er fans in the room.
It was all bad.
It was all ugly.
Jerry Rice could have been named the MVP of the game as he torched the Broncos secondary for 7 catches for 148 yards and three touchdowns, but it was Joe Montana’s then-record five touchdown passes that was too impressive for MVP voters to ignore. He did that despite being pulled from the game with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
“Life is awfully cruel and tough to handle,” Reeves said. “But we’re grown men and we have to move on.”